Wizards star Bradley Beal offered some sobering words Friday, detailing his personal, negative encounters with police.
"I've been pulled over with four hoopers in the car before and we've all been taken out, searched because we were black," Beal said, speaking to reporters in front of Capital One Arena, the start of a Wizards- and Mystics-led march down to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
The march serves as a spotlight of ongoing police brutality and social injustice in America, held on Friday, June 19 in recognition of Juneteenth – a holiday commemorating the day that Union troops notified enslaved African Americans of their freedom in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
"Right in a white neighborhood," Beal continued. "I went to an all-white school in high school. Okay, here's another thing. It happened here two years ago. I got pulled over on 495."
"The officer asked me to step out of the vehicle," he said. "I'm literally on the side of the highway – my wife, me and one of my friends – sitting on the median of the highway, on the side, and he comes up to me and says, 'What if I f**k up your Monday and put you on a headline and arrest you right now?'
"I didn't do anything. But because I was a black athlete driving a nice vehicle, that's what he came up with. And how am I supposed to respond to that? I would just be waking up on Monday morning with an ESPN headline 'Bradley Beal arrested because of interaction with police.'"
"But, I mean, it happens. It doesn't (just) happen to me. It doesn't just happen to our... I mean it's everywhere," said Beal. "It's everywhere. And we just have to stop being ignorant to the fact that it exists."